General description and types of pachistachis, conditions for keeping, recommendations for choosing soil, feeding and reproduction, problems when growing a bush. Pachystachys is a member of the Acanthaceae family, which has approximately 3940 diverse flora and almost 242 genera. The genus Pachistachis includes about 12 species of green inhabitants of the planet. The homeland of this beautiful evergreen perennial bush is considered the southern and central American regions, which are dominated by a tropical climate, subtropical East Indian and coastal East Australian regions. The name was made up of two Greek words: the first meant thick - "paghys", and the second ear (probably because of the flowers of the plant) - "staghys".
In height, pachystachis can reach the meter mark, but when grown indoors, the bush rarely reaches more than 50 cm.Its shoots are thin (no more than 1 cm in diameter), grow up and bear leaf plates with sharp tops. The leaves are located opposite each other and have a beautiful rich emerald shade of the surface and some gloss. Their shape is elongated-elliptical, the dimensions are measured 10-12 cm in length. Veins are visible along the entire upper side of the leaf. The leaves cover the bush quite tightly, forming a ball shape. The leaf plates are distinguished by some lowering of their ends downward.
Flowering lasts from the beginning of spring days to the middle (or end) of autumn months. Because of its beautiful inflorescences, pachistachis is recognized by flower growers. The buds of white shade seem to peek out of rich lemon, scarlet-red or orange-yellow bracts, resembling the shape of "wings" or "beaks". The inflorescence, reaching a length of 10 cm, consists of these bracts, which are located crosswise to each other, forming an ear, with four faces. Flower buds can last up to 12 days, and then fly around, but inflorescences delight the eye with bright and rich shades for a long time against the background of malachite deciduous mass. One plant can form from 10 to 20 inflorescences.
It is relatively easy to grow a plant, only there are some features of the content. Pachistachis is often used to decorate and decorate rooms. But in Russia, its central regions and some countries with similar climatic conditions, it is successfully used in landscape design. The only thing is that with long-term growth, the lower part of the plant is ugly exposed, and it does not look so attractive, therefore regular pruning is required. But more spectacular is pachistachis grown for two years.
Care for indoor cultivation of pachistachis
- Lighting. Growing a bush requires a place with sufficient lighting, soft diffused light, devoid of direct sunlight. For this, a pot with a plant should be placed on the windowsills of east or west windows. If the midday rays of the sun will fall on the pachistachis, then it is worth arranging shading using curtains made of light translucent fabrics, or you can stick paper or tracing paper on the glass. However, in the winter period of time, it is necessary that there is enough lighting for the plant and for this to arrange additional lighting using phytolamps or fluorescent lamps.
- The temperature of the content of the pachistachis. The plant does not like extreme temperature extremes and most of all moderate heat indicators are suitable for it.During the spring-summer months, it is necessary to withstand 20-23 degrees of heat, but if the thermometer begins to show more than 24 degrees, then it is necessary to intensively raise the humidity of the environment around the plant. From the arrival of autumn to the beginning of the spring months, the heat should be maintained within 16-19 degrees. If the indicators drop below 14 degrees, then the plant may not tolerate this. If the bush is placed next to central heating radiators or heaters, it will significantly damage the growth and appearance of the pachystachis. The supply of fresh air is simply necessary for the shrubs, but it must be protected from drafts.
- Air humidity. Since this is a representative of tropical and subtropical territories, most of all he prefers high levels of moisture in the air. Spraying should be carried out almost constantly, using warm soft water. If the air humidity is low, then this operation is carried out at least once a day, and sometimes 2-3 times a day. To increase the humidity, you can install a flower pot in a deep and wide pallet, into which expanded clay, pebbles or chopped sphagnum moss are poured, then a little water is poured into it. It is important that the bottom of the flowerpot does not touch moisture, so as not to provoke rotting of the roots.
- Watering the "golden ear". With the arrival of spring days, until the end of summer, pachystachis must be moistened abundantly enough. Good and constant soil moisture is a prerequisite, but it should not be swampy - watering can be done every three days. As soon as the temperatures began to drop, the humidification is slightly reduced, and they are carried out only after 1–2 days after the substrate layer has dried out by 1–2 cm in the pot. But it is also important not to allow the clod of earth in the pot to dry out completely, since the plant responds very negatively to this. In order to moisten the substrate, use soft water, completely devoid of lime and salt impurities. To obtain such water, it is necessary to filter or boil tap water, followed by its settling for several days. The temperature for irrigation should not go beyond 20-23 degrees Celsius. It is also very good to use the collected water collected after rain or snow melt.
- Fertilizers pachistachis. The plant must be maintained with top dressing from the beginning of the active growth period (April) to the end of autumn. For this, fertilizers from complexes of all minerals or organic solutions are suitable (mullein solutions are made). This procedure is combined with watering. It is necessary to wet the soil well with moisture and only then apply fertilizers. Regularity of top dressing once every 2-3 weeks.
- Pruning a plant. To create an attractive appearance of pachystachis, it is necessary to regularly trim and pinch. If a plant grows in a natural environment, then in order for it to get enough light, it needs to grow intensively at a young age. And therefore, lateral branching begins after reaching a height of 80 cm. Until the plant reaches this level, only one trunk extends from it, which does not look very decorative in apartment conditions. It is better to start forming a leaf mass starting from a young age of the bush, performing pinching and pruning, therefore, it is necessary to refuse flowering in the first year. As soon as the pachistachis develops to a height of 10–15 cm, the first pruning is done. At the side shoots, it is worth plucking out a third pair of leaves, for the development of dormant buds. And they do the same with the next level of shoots. By performing this action 3-4 more times, you can get up to 12 new plant tops in the first year. Before the period of growth activity, it is necessary to prune or pinch all the tops of the shoots. So in the end you can get up to 24 peaks and such a plant can already be given bloom.When the flowering process is completed, then each faded shoot will split into two and will bloom again. This will continue until the very end of the season. And for the next spring, make new pinching or pruning.
- Recommendations for choosing soil and replanting pachistachis. It is recommended to change the pot for the plant annually in the spring. During this operation, the bush is trimmed slightly. In the container, it is necessary to provide for high-quality and powerful drainage, as well as holes for the drain of excess moisture. If the plant has just been acquired, then the pot and substrate are immediately changed to it.
For the soil, it is necessary to withstand the conditions of looseness and good air and water permeability. You can use ready-made commercial soil for ornamental and flowering plants grown indoors. In order to lighten the substrate, sand or agroperlite (perlite) is usually added to it. The soil mixture is made from the following components:
- sod soil, coarse river sand (perlite), peat soil, humus soil (in proportions 2: 1: 1: 1);
- clay-sod soil, peat, leafy soil, humus, coarse sand (in the same proportions).
Recommendations for breeding pachistachis at home
This plant reproduces mainly vegetatively - using cuttings. You can take the branches left after the planned pruning of pachystachis. The selected branch should be healthy and fresh, and its length should be 12 cm. It is important on the cutting that there are at least 2-3 internodes. They are cut off with a well-sharpened knife and placed with a vessel of water. The water must be changed daily, until the root shoots appear at least 1 cm in length. This process usually takes about 2-3 weeks. Rooting temperature should be between 20-22 degrees, and very high humidity is maintained. To do this, you can wrap the cuttings in a plastic bag or cover with a glass jar. It is important not to forget to periodically ventilate future pachistachis and spray them with warm water. After the roots appear, the cuttings are planted in separate pots (with a diameter of no more than 9 cm) with a light substrate (a mixture of peat soil and sand in equal proportions) and the plants are allowed to grow stronger for several weeks and start growing. After that, they can be transplanted into a pot with soil suitable for adult specimens. It is recommended to plant 3-5 plants in one container, and this will make it easier to form a beautiful leafy crown in the future.
You can also, bypassing the vessel with water, plant the cuttings in small pots with a peat-sand mixture and wrap them with polyethylene, wait for the start of growth. As soon as the plants are confidently moving into growth, then you can transplant into a permanent container with a different substrate. If you carry out such transshipments in several stages and slightly limit the volume of soil in the pot, then this can be a stimulation for further abundant flowering. As soon as the plants step over 10-15 cm in height, they begin to form the crown.
Problems when growing pachistachis indoors
Pests are distinguished: aphids, whiteflies, scale insects, spider mites, mealybugs. When the plant is affected by these harmful insects, the leaf plates begin to turn yellow and deform, a cotton-like or sticky ("sweetish") bloom forms on the leaves and stems. To combat them at the initial stages, you can use soap, oil or alcohol solutions - with the help of them, spraying is carried out or pests are removed manually by soaking a cotton swab in the solution. If the folk method does not work, or to consolidate the effect, pachistachis must be treated with modern insecticides.
Of the troubles that can come to light when growing a "golden ear" at home lead:
- the dropping of the deciduous mass in the winter-autumn period occurs under the influence of a draft, at sufficiently low or high temperatures;
- with a strong exposure of the shoots from below, the plants indicate that the pachistachis is very overgrown and must be cut off shortly;
- if the tips of the leaf plates began to dry, then this is evidence that the plant needs to be fed, it is not sufficiently moistened, the air is too dry, the temperatures of the content have increased;
- if the cuttings do not take root in any way, then the large leaves on the branches should be shortened in half, and the cuttings themselves should be transferred to a warm place and wrapped in a plastic bag;
- crushing of leaf plates and strong stretching of shoots indicate insufficient illumination.
- Pachystachis yellow (Pachystachys lutea). It grows mainly in the tropical forests of the American continent. This type of plant is most loved by flower growers. A large shrub, has not too branching shoots and can stretch in height from 60 cm to 110 cm. The leaf plates are large, elongated-elongated, have a strongly pointed apex, on average their length reaches 10-20 cm, painted in a rich emerald hue … Pachistachis got its name for the beautiful and rich lemon shade of bracts, which fold into spike-shaped inflorescences, can reach a length of 10-15 cm. An adult plant contains up to 10 such inflorescences. The flowers that peep out of the bracts are painted in whitish or cream tones and are located almost parallel to the ground, two-lipped, somewhat reminiscent of the beak of a bird. Flowering lasts from spring to the last months of autumn.
- Pachystachis red (Pachystachys coccinea). American tropical areas are considered homeland. This plant is a frequent visitor to greenhouses, but in apartments it is practically not cultivated, since pachistachis reaches almost 2 meters in height. The leaf plates are very large, with a bright malachite tint, reaching almost 40 cm in length. The bracts are almost the same color, and the flowers seem to be elongated and painted in purple shades. This pachistachis looks quite decorative because of the contrast of red and green. The temperature of the plant should not fall below 20 degrees Celsius.
- Pachystachis spikelet (Pachystachys spicata). This type of plant is so rare that it is grown only in greenhouses and botanical gardens. Sometimes it is distinguished as a separate species or is called a relative of Pachistachis red. The bract differs in perfect nondescriptness, but the flowers, in contrast, are exceptionally beautiful and decorative. Their color is deep red-scarlet, they gather on the bracts in a pineal shape. The leaf plates are large in size up to 25 cm in length and a rich emerald hue.
- Pachystachys calyptrocalyx. Also called Calyptrocalyx schlechterianus. The trunk of this species is rather narrow. It can reach up to two meters in height. The leaf plates are pinnate, arranged alternately opposite to each other, widely spaced. Elongated-oval in shape with a large taper at the apex. The tip of the leaf is downright pointed and strongly elongated. On the entire surface of the leaf, protruding veins are visible. They help to hold the leaf "shell" almost perpendicular to the handle. The emerging leaves have a reddish-burgundy hue, but as they grow, a greenish undertone appears more and more.
The rest of the pachistachis species are not cultivated and can be found only in the natural environment of tropical forests.
You will learn more information about pachistachis from this video: